Ransack Dance kicked off tonight's triple bill with their piece Broken Arrows by Sarah Rogers. Beginning with a soft explorative duet accompanied by a live guitarist and singer, (who impressively also danced in the piece) the other dancers then joined the pair on stage and went on to tell us intimate stories from life. From partying, through raging storms to love and romance, it was an ambitious story to tell, but admirably attempted. These ideas would be welcomely explored individually, such as the moment where the dancers swam in pools of light on the floor, and certainly have the potential to be developed further.
A welcome slice of comic relief came in Omni Commeo by Alicia Kidman; an exploration into the notion of communication. This piece followed the dancers as they deciphered means of communication without actually uttering a word of English. Making noises reminiscent of The Sims, the dancers uttered gibberish and interacted with their bodies, noise and the space around them to playfully explore their world. Even with the masses of comedy in the piece, there was no distracting from the wonderfully dexterous and and intuitive movement of the dancers. It had perfect comic timing and was an incredibly clever piece to watch unfold.
Charley Enhanced presented by Riviere,Gasiorek&Stigsdatter did not grip me from the off as the other works had, but as the action unfolded and we fell deeper into watching the dancers explore the improvisational score they had devised, it became mesmerising. It is easy to appreciate the actions of the dancers on stage when they are improvising, particularly when the dancers are as thoughtful and curious about each movement as they were. Watching them travel around the space and examine their relationships with each other was intriguing to see evolve and when they snapped out of their trance to take a deserved bow, I felt their hypnotised audience weren't ready for it to end just yet.
There are lots of loose endings in Broken Arrows. Fragments of this and that: Si Rawlinson’s broken love song; a rave scene in which the six performers huddled together, jump and punch the air purposefully; Matthew William’s film of magnified lights and human eyes; an industrial fan whose air currents blow the dancers back into the wings. All of them are intriguing threads but while the members of Ransack Dance try their best, nothing is seen through to its conclusion. There are some exciting moments and captivating images, but too many ideas in too short a time, make for a frustrating watching experience.
Alicia Kidman presents us with four quirkily dressed women who demonstrate that effective communication need not only be enabled through speech. The groups’ non-verbal utterings and body language convey sensations and recognisable emotions. Although we don’t have a clue what they are discussing, we can appreciate their physical manifestations of pleasure, discomfort, uncertainty or even jealousy. They are a playful, endearing bunch, responding to each other and a pile of dictionaries, with exuberant comical actions like intelligent Teletubbies. Omni Commeo has an engaging simplicity, delightfully delivered by its performers.
Riveting from start to finish, Olivia Riviere, Emilia Gasiorek and Nanna Stigsdatter build so much in the space that although there is nothing tangible to see, they leave imprints of complex pathways, intricate gestures, dynamics and internal moods. Dressed in white, like blank canvasses themselves, the dancers set about their tasks of creating with unemotional concentration like scientists or engineers. Exploring their bodies as spaces too, they repeat actions, test out different body parts, working from the interior to exterior and beyond. Even tiny muscles in their faces are activated. Thumping, sterile techno music is a great aural background for these methodical perfectionists.